April 13 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a bill that allows states to block federal family planning funding for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood by eliminating an Obama-era rule.
The bill, House Joint Resolution 43, allows state governments to block federal Title X family planning funds from organizations that perform abortions. Title X is a federal grant program dedicated to family planning and reproductive health services prioritized for low-income families and people who are not insured.
Republicans passed the bill in late March by using the Congressional Review Act, which has allowed Congress to reverse regulations passed under the final months of former President Barack Obama's administration. Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaker to pass the bill.
Though organizations like Planned Parenthood are prohibited from using Title X funds to carry out abortions, anti-abortion advocates argue federal funding given to Planned Parenthood and other groups allows abortion providers to free up non-federal funds to provide more abortions.
The Obama rule required state and local governments to distribute Title X funding to organizations related to contraception, fertility, pregnancy care and cervical cancer screenings despite their involvement in abortions. Planned Parenthood criticized Trump for signing the bill into law.
"People are tired of mostly white, male politicians making decisions about our healthcare, rights or communities -- without input," Planned Parenthood said in a statement. "The White House and extremists in Congress just made it harder for women to get the essential, basic healthcare they need to survive and to thrive. This dangerous bill emboldens states to prevent use of Title X funds at a health center just because it also provides safe, legal abortion."
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List group, said Trump signing the bill is one of two "huge victories."
"This week the pro-life movement had two huge victories: first, the swearing-in of Justice [Neil] Gorsuch and now, President Trump will undo former President Obama's parting gift to the abortion industry. The resolution signed today simply ensures that states are not forced to fund an abortion business with taxpayer dollars. Rather, states have the option to spend Title X money on comprehensive healthcare clinics that better serve women and girls," Dannenfelser told LifeNews.